Lynchburg community honors those battling with breast cancer at “I Pink I Can” event

Published: Oct. 7, 2023 at 8:49 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The Lynchburg community is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the annual “I Pink I Can” event.

The event serves as a celebration for survivors and a remembrance of those who have passed from breast cancer.

River Ridge and Centra Cancer Center partnered to have a heartfelt tribute. Organizers say hope is what drives many breast cancer survivors to keep fighting.

River Ridge Marketing Manager LJ Nadal says he feels encouraged when speaking to those who overcame a traumatic experience.

“It fills me with a lot of hope talking to some of these ladies; they’re so strong and to be able to fight and to continue even in the face of, you know, tragedy and stuff like that, this event is a lot of fun but also very meaningful,” said Nadal.

Participants wore pink and walked laps around the shopping mall. The first lap was to recognize survivors and the second was in remembrance of those who lost their battle.

“We’re just encouraging everybody to kind of have, you know, a heart for someone on their mind as they do the walk, as they do the procession,” explained Nadal. “It really isn’t just kind of a fun parade, there is a lot of meaning and significance to the actual walk itself.”

Patricia Jones is a two-time breast cancer survivor. When she was first diagnosed in 1984, she said she prayed to get through the hurdle.

“I really had a rough time with it, with the chemo and the radiation. But the goodness of the Lord kept me through. He pulled me through all of it,” said Jones.

Jones learned she had cancer again in 1998. This time, she struggled with treatment.

“It was really rough; I was bedridden, was that time when I couldn’t get up in walking,” explained Jones. “It was really hard just to lay there and couldn’t do anything. My children were young and I couldn’t participate in anything they were in school with.”

Jones says it took a lot for her to hold on to hope.

“As years went along, I’m trying to think back on it, that He really pulled me through everything,” added Jones.

“Just fight, fight, fight no matter how bad the day is. I’ve been there - just fight.” said breast cancer survivor Denise Black. Black had cancer for the first time in 2018 and again in 2022.

“I finished chemo on January first of this year. I have been cancer-free for 10 months now,” emphasized Black.

Black says having her family by her side helped her continue to fight.

“My husband was very supportive. He went to every chemotherapy session with me. He kept my spirits up,” added Black.

Proceeds from the event will directly benefit the Centra Cancer Fund. Survivors encourage all family members struggling with the battle to continue the fight.